Gay Couples Wed in Group Ceremony in Maine

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Ten same-sex couples exchanged vows Saturday at a group wedding in Portland's largest park during an annual gay pride parade and festival.

Organizers held the mass wedding in Deer Oaks Park as a celebration of Maine's new gay marriage law, which was passed by voters in November and went into effect Dec. 29. Festival organizer Mark Holt said Southern Maine Pride has been on the forefront advocating for legalizing same-sex marriage for the 27 years it's put on the parade and festival.

The theme of this year's event is "Marry Me." Hold said about 10,000 people participated in this year's festival, which included a parade and a gay wedding expo tent with more than 30 wedding-related vendors. Among participants in the parade were Michael Snell and Steven Bridges, who were the first couple married in Portland after gay marriage became legal at midnight on Dec. 29.

The grand marshal for this year's parade was Richard Blanco, who lives in Bethel and who was the inaugural poet at President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in in January.

From the Associated Press